The Los Angeles Dodgers’ bullpen and its troubles have been covered ad nauseum this offseason. We know they’re heavily interested in helping it however they possibly can (Darren O’Day, anyone?), but there was one arm coming out of the ‘pen all fans looked forward to seeing: Kenley Jansen.
If anything, fans would’ve like to have seen him more often. A common criticism with how closers are utilized is how despite their being the best pitcher available, they’re passed up for lesser pitchers as the thinking is they’ll be needed later on.
Only, as we saw too often this season, the pitcher brought in gives up the big hit and Jansen is no longer needed.
Anywho, that’s all tangential. ESPN’s Buster Olney ranked relief pitchers and Jansen came in third. Here’s what Olney had to say:
… He deserves better, and might be the best example of a reliever who, like Mariano Rivera, succeeds with one pitch, his cut fastball, which swerves into the hands of left-handed hitters and darts away from right-handed hitters.
Last season, opponents batted only .176 against him, with a .215 on-base percentage. Only Wade Davis produced a lower OBP among all relievers with at least 40 innings.
The only two pitchers who finished ahead of Jansen on Olney’s list: Aroldis Chapman (whom the Dodgers are reportedly interested in) and Wade Davis (who might be a cyborg).
Jansen’s being included in such incredible company might only further the frustration fans have with the rest of the bullpen. Fortunately, Chris Hatcher stepped in and filled the role as setup man fairly well, but it’s also no surprise the Dodgers have been linked to bigger names in order to best utilize Jansen in the closing innings.